4 Common Diet Changes to Expect with Advanced Illness Patients

Friday, August 03, 2018 | Joe Nester


The diet needs of our loved ones change as they progress through the stages of an advanced illness.

As they begin exhibiting some of the symptoms outlined below, the key should be making them comfortable while adjusting to their changing needs.

Here are four common diet changes to consider if you are caring for an advanced illness patent.

Losing Sense of Taste

You may hear complaints about foods they once loved not tasting the same or having no flavor at all. Prescribed medical treatments could be affecting their taste buds. This can be a particular problem for cancer patients who have undergone chemo or radiation therapy.

The tartness from an orange or lemon slice can help taste buds recover. Switch to plastic utensils if they're responding negatively to metal. You can also try serving their food cold or at room temperature.

Trouble Swallowing Food

Patients who have recently had tubing remove often experience issues with swallowing. Those with certain illnesses like multiple sclerosis can lose control of their throat muscles.

Consult with a speech pathologist or dietician for advice on the best foods for this stage. Try replacing regular plated meals with thick drinks as an alternative. A feeding tube may be required if things don’t improve.

Loss of Appetite

Although loss of appetite is normal for advanced illness patients, make doctors aware of any disinterest in eating since prescribed medications could be the root cause. The nature of their illness can also remove the will to eat consistently.

Try serving smaller high-protein meals around five to six times per day along with scheduling regular snack breaks. Also, you can serve food on smaller plates and eat alongside them to brighten their mood.

A Sense of Lethargy

In some cases, patients may feel they don’t have the energy to get through a meal. This is also something that should be brought to a doctor’s attention.

You can help by picking out foods they find appealing and won’t require lots of effort to consume. High-protein meals can also boost energy levels.

You may ask if others if others in long-term care are experiencing the same problems. The answer is yes, treatments, medicines, and illness can affect the way you feel about eating. You are not alone and Agapé Hospice is here to help.

With over 20 locations throughout South Carolina, Agapé Hospice brings quality comfort and care to advanced illness patients. contact us today to learn more about our hospice care services, and how we can give your loved ones the support they deserve.

I want to thank Agapé Hospice for doing an amazing job working with Millennium and the family to make sure that all our basis were covered while ensuring this woman got the services she deserved. She went GIP yesterday afternoon then passed early around 1 am.

I just wanted to say thank you to an amazing hospice team! Especially nurse Annie… she rocks!

Thanks so much guys!

Millennium Family, Post-Acute Rehabilitation